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Salient Experiences are Represented by Unique Transcriptional Signatures in the Brain

By Diptendu Mukherjee, Bogna Marta Ignatowska-Jankowska, Eyal Itskovits, Ben Jerry Gonzales, Hagit Turm, Liz Izakson, Doron Haritan, Noa Bleistein, Chen Cohen, Ido Amit, Tal Shay, Brad Grueter, Alon Zaslaver, Ami Citri

Posted 21 Sep 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/192278 (published DOI: 10.7554/eLife.31220)

Inducible transcription is essential for consolidation of salient experiences into long-term memory. However, the question of whether inducible transcription relays information representing the identity of the experience being encoded, has not been explored. To this end, we have analyzed transcription across multiple brain regions, induced by a variety of rewarding and aversive experiences. Our results define robust transcriptional signatures uniquely characterizing individual salient experiences. A subset of these induced transcriptional markers suffice for near-perfect decoding of the identity of recent experiences at the level of individual mice. Furthermore, experiences with shared attributes display commonalities in their transcriptional representation, exemplified in the representation of valence, habituation and reinforcement. Taken together, our results demonstrate the existence of a neural transcriptional code that represents the encoding of experiences in the mouse brain. This code is comprised of distinct transcriptional signatures that correlate to the affective attributes of the experiences that are being encoded.

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